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Booke inscribed by William Byrd to the mysterious lady herself, or the Vaughan-Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. Liszt, legen- dary as a piano virtuoso, was also a virtuoso composer, in one of the senses I give to the term, spontaneity being a principal aspect or com- ponent of a musician's virtii. Concerto Conversations 82 concerto is predicated on a duality, the duality of concerto agents; distinction between them is not always clearly sustained. So far, ur discussion, clarity in this matter has been taken as a donnée, ether in reference to reciprocity between the two agents, charac- stic of the Classical era, or polarity, characteristic of the Baroque. Yet ost from the beginning of concerto history, composers have also to problematize and play with the distinction, conceal it or blur fy general term for this process, in its several manifestations, is fusion. Like polarity and reciprocity, diffusion can be viewed as an- mode of concerto duality—which may seem like a paradoxical yosition, since what is involved is a whittling away of duality into tures that amount to complex unities. Let us see what kind of case made for this paradox. with technology, at a nodal point in the history of the concerto: oric development of musical instruments in the first half of the teenth century. Virtually every instrument partook of this develop- nt: strings, keyboard, woodwind, and brass. Stradivarius himself es- d the ash-can of history only because string instruments could be fitted with new fingerboards, bridges, and strings, and played with new- style bows. The metamorphosis of the early piano was more sweeping yet. The fragile fortepiano of Mozart’ time had developed far enough even in Beethoven's middle years so that he could recruit it, in the “Emperor” Concerto, for his forceful heroic vision. By the time Messrs Steinway & Sons were through with the instrument in the 1860s, next thing you know you've got the Van Cliburn Competition. Among other exploits, the piano displaced the violin as the concertos main pro- tagonist. The divergence of the piano concerto from other concertos probably deserves more attention than it is going to get in these concerto conver- sations. I do, however, want to draw attention to a sense in which the piano’ growing presence eroded the distinction between solo and or- chestra. This may seem like another paradox—for does not the piano stand aside with its own sound-world, separate from the orchestra, and do not the violin and the cello, as themselves constituents of the orches- tra, share sonorities with it? But as I have already pointed out, one aspect of the piano’ virtit is mimesis of an orchestra. It is a far from negligible aspect: the great symphonic repertory of the nineteenth cen- tury was known to the public less from concerts than from piano ar- rangements, arrangements for piano four-hands. The piano can simu- late an orchestra; anything the orchestra can do a piano can do, if not better, at least plausibly and often with panache. There is a rough parity between orchestra and piano as there is not between orchestra and violin, or orchestra and cello. This parity was already an invitation to diffusion: an invitation that Liszt accepted in a topsy-turvy way when he wrote his Concerto pathetique for two pianos (and no orchestra) in 1877. Though this may not be a very persuasive piece qua concerto, Liszt was as usual asking Concerto Conversations 84 visionary questions—never more so than in his late years. And if the lo member of the concerto duality was destined to become more chestral, certainly the orchestral member was destined to grow more joistic. For Vivaldi and Bach, with some exceptions, including the indenburg Concertos, which is no mean exception, and we shall to it later—for Vivaldi and Bach, the orchestra consisted of no than strings and continuo. The Bach sons and the young Mozart d pairs of horns anW/or oboes, sometimes as optional accessories, ad later Mozart expanded his orchestra to include the multicolored ennese Harmonie, or woodwind group. He never allowed extended los for its individual members, however. This step seems to have en taken by Beethoven, in his First Piano Concerto of 1795, with its ominent clarinet solo in the slow movement. ith this development, the singularity of the soloist came increas- into question. Another route began opening up to diffusion. After Classical era of the symphony, in the decades around 1800, the estra steadily expanded, diversified itself, and articulated itself in creasingly unpredictable ways. The symphony encroached upon the oncerto—or simply ingested it, as in the second symphony by Berlioz, arold in Italy; commissioned as a viola concerto for Paganini, its disin- ination to be that carries symbolic resonance for the present discus- on. Later, even a classicizing symphony such as the Brahms First uuld admit a substantial solo violin part. For a concerto soloist, the te nineteenth-century orchestra spelled potential trouble. One doesn't have to think very long about Mahler’ orchestration to nderstand why Mahler never wrote a concerto. Karol Szymanowski id, and the orchestra in his two violin concertos is about the richest to found in the concerto repertory. The orchestral particularity here is olor rather than mass or power or discourse—kaleidoscopic color. The iffusion: Concerto Textures 85 problem with these unquestionably distinguished works is not that you can’t hear the violin; you always can; but the orchestra is always so much more interesting, One response to this situation from composers was to accept the inevi- table and capitalize on the new orchestral resources, by elevating indi- vidual instruments to the position of secondary soloists. Generally this happens in a single movement (usually a slow movement) or a longish episode within a movement. The Schumann Piano Concerto must af- ford one of the first examples, with its clarinet emerging and engaging the solo piano in a long sleepy dialogue that occupies the entire An- dante espressivo section of the first movement. In his Cello Concerto, Schumann actually singles out the orchestral cello part as an obligato line, posing the question of solo singularity in the most acute form. Obviously he wanted the sense of diffusion caused by this doubling, though composers have often gone out of their way to make it impossi- ble. It's a rare clarinet concerto that includes clarinets in its orchestra, and the Violin Concerto by Roger Sessions, for one, uses an orchestra without violins, Sessions knew the Berg Violin Concerto, and Berg em- ploys the orchestral violins quite sparingly and sometimes as a means of diffusion, as we shall see in a moment. Examples of prominent secondary soloists abound in the standard concerto repertory—the Brahms Second Piano Concerto with its cello, Carl Nielsen's Flute Concerto with its trombone, the Shostakovich First Piano Concerto with its trumpet and his First Cello Concerto with its French horn. Dvofak’s Cello Concerto has its flute, a curious case be- cause rather than staying with a particular episode or movement the flute keeps turning up when least expected, like one of those small birds on the back of a hippopotamus. And it is hard to refrain from Concerto Conversations 86 tioning the Second Piano Concerto by Chaikovsky, in the huge y movement of which the piano appears to withdraw as solo instru- he orchestra; after a long while, though, the piano returns and the strings fall silent; and then after another long while they come back gain and play cadenzas, among many other things, before leaving field (and the finale) to the piano Looked at differently, secondary soloists can be seen as a protectionist itegy on behalf of the solo. The solo co-opts other instruments by ting them temporarily from the orchestral mass. Secondary solo- can take some of the load off the soloist in its negotiations with the jestra; they mediate between solo and orchestra, as Elliott Carter has it. His Piano Concerto, written in 1966, makes continual use of a bsidiary group of three woodwinds and four strings that Carter calls concertino. Later Carter concertos do something similar. Nielsen’s procedure is simpler but also somewhat similar in his Flute ncerto, dating from 1931. No doubt protectionism was well advised ith so frail a solo instrument, and the piece makes almost systematic se of duets and trios between solo and secondary soloists. The flute out partners promiscuously; as well as the unrefined trombone in first and third movements, there is a faithful clarinet in the first jovement and a casual bassoon in the second. The clarinet supports he flute right away during the first theme, helps out in the cadenzas, d steps in when the flute can't go low enough to make a rather theated transition. Especially striking is the use of secondary soloists in another work of found the same time, the Violin Concerto of Stravinsky. Here the trategy was not protectionist nor in the least lighthearted. Stravinsky had a clear aesthetic agenda, which had already affected his first con- certo, the Concerto for Piano and Wind Instruments. He was of course Diffusion: Concerto Textures 87 Example 29 not the first composer to react against the dramatics of the Romantic concerto, Debussy, in a letter of 1909 to Edgard Varese, mentioned vaguely some new ideas he had about the genre, which would militate against what he called the “rather ridiculous battle between two charac- ters.”! (Debussy had soured on the concerto after withdrawing a stu- dent effort, the Fantaisie for Piano and Orchestra of 1890. The music has been recovered and deserves more exposure.) Ravel expressed him- self similarly. Stravinsky would ultimately tell Robert Craft that in this: project “the violin in combination was my real interest”—hardly a re- mark one can imagine coming from Vivaldi or Paganini, nor for that matter from Szymanowski or Prokofiev? Next Stravinsky praised Balanchine, who choreographed the ballet Balustrade to this music, for his pas de deux complementing the duets that stand out in all of the movements. For although the work requires a large orchestra, this mostly breaks down into small chamber-musical groups with the solo violin, duets being especially prominent in the finale. Stravinsky also noted casually that a two-violin duet in the finale might bring to mind the Concerto for Two Violins by Bach. This is diffusion in an advanced form, and another such example is furnished by another product of the concerto-rich 1930s, the Violin Concerto by Alban Berg. In the so-called Weheklage section at the end of this work, at the same time as the orchestra works its way through variations on the Bach chorale the solo violin traces surging chromatic lines of lament. And after being told to put on the mute, the solo violin must also suffer first one, then two, then more orchestral violins to join it and double its melodic line. An annotation in the score insists that this Kollektiv (Berg’s term) be both heard and seen, witnessed, born witness to, by the audience. An entire community must be perceived as joining in lament. Diffusion: composers achieve this in various ways. Berg denatures or Concerto Conversations 88 s out the solo presence by means of muting and doubling. and Stravinsky undermine solo singularity by matching up the ravinsky also does something else. The third movement of his Violin ncerto, which is entitled Aria II, ends with the violin merging with orchestra—here reduced to flutes and cellos and basses playing nonics—to form a single texture. The solo instrument (marked o!) can almost no longer be heard, only the novel composite . It depends on the performance, obviously, or the recording. fusion in this case entails coalescence, rather than denaturing or roliferation. We have come across this phenomenon in the same com- Concerto for Piano and Winds, at the great climax of the first ovement (see Example 9), The wind-instrument dirge is overlaid by 1¢ piano pulse, both of them magnified unimaginably, a texture exhila- iting in its sheer plenitude and intricacy. At the other end of the amic spectrum, Bartok does something analogous in both his Sec- nd and Third Piano Concertos, in the central, fast “trio” sections of the two slow movements. The piano temporarily steps back as a solo in- ment and takes its place in an ad hoc night-music orchestra, a char- eteristic Bartok combo of special-effect strings, muted brass, piano, ylophone, and sputtering high woodwinds. Like Stravinsky, Bartok eates fascinating textures specific to these works, of course, and in another sense specific to the genre concerto. is late in the day to be bringing up concerto textures. Musicologists re slow to discuss musical texture because this is notoriously hard to do, and the results are usually unhappy. Of all music's parameters the most resistant to theory and verbal description is sonority, whether the sonority of single sounds, timbre, or that of multiple combined sounds, Diffusion: Concerto Textures 89 Example 30 texture. Stanley Cavell once noted that “music has, among the arts, the most, perhaps the only, systematic and precise vocabulary for the de- scription and analysis of its objects,”’ and then he went on to comment trenchantly on the effect this has had on music criticism; however, Cavell must have had in mind, as most critics at that time did, pitch, harmony, and rhythm rather than texture. As far as the description of texture is concerned, music’s vocabulary leaves very much to be de- sired. So in brief: analysis of concerto textures works well enough when the solo is accompanied by the orchestra, falters when the relationship between them is contrapuntal, and all but collapses when the solo appears to be accompanying the orchestra. One cannot theorize, one can only admire. Accompaniment texture, in fact, I did touch on briefly before; it was when the matter of relationships came up, relationships between the two concerto agents. These I categorized as either vertical or hori- zonal, immanent or dynamic. My discussion of the Chaikovsky Violin Concerto began with a clear, immanent MisTRESS/SERVANT relationship; when the violin sings her song the orchestral instruments regress into a big guitar, and when she turns to bravura, however loudly they play they never intrude. In the second movement, the primary role seems less that of MISTRESS than DREAMER Or SEER or MEDIUM. Rather than engaging in display or theatrics, the solo falls into a trance of some sort, and the accompaniment role becomes that of DEVOTEE or COMMUNI- cant. Absorbed, abstracted, the solo does not hear the orchestra, whose accompaniment is very quiet, almost breathless; only after some sig- nificant action does the orchestra gain profile. The relationship story Chaikovsky tells ends with less simple textures in the finale, where richer roles for the concerto agents spell new mutual awareness. At the risk of underscoring the obvious, accompaniment textures can Concerto Conversations 90 ¢ thought of according to the figure-ground model—the solo as figure, orchestra as ground. But the model will not necessarily invert. A olo instrument resists serving as a ground for an orchestra. When orchestra material is primary and the solo secondary, however neu- al and banal that secondary material may appear, it still projects the ‘guthority of its instrumental virtu. Some of the most characteristic and ascinating of concerto textures arise in these situations. _ They can arise even with solo subsidiary material of the most elemen- ary kind—such as a stationary pedal note. Recall Mendelssohn’ bril- it gloss, in his Violin Concerto, on the Beethoven Violin Concerto. In both composers’ opening movements, the exposition of the second ‘theme begins in the woodwinds, Beethoven’ violin meanwhile holding nto a superior pedal, a long trilled E above the staff. The first outing of the second theme in the new key, the dominant key—surely that counts s a major phase in the musical discourse. Yet a bravura element, the olin’s first trill, is also on display and refuses to register as mere “accompaniment. Mendelssohn gives his violin nothing but a low, open- “string G, marked pp: instead of bravura, the very lowest common de- nominator of violinistic virtu. Even here, as he knew, the solo will ‘refuse to be grounded. (Mendelssohn uses a long plunge to highlight his low G, too: an uncharacteristically brazen move. Later Prokofiey, in “a gesture of defiant humility, would gloss Mendelssohn by starting his Violin Concerto No. 2 with open-string G played by the solo mezzo "piano, the orchestra silent.) Tt cannot be said that the figure/ground model will never invert. But one _ is well advised to look sharply at composers who allow this to hap- pen very often. A passage near the start of Schumann's Piano Con- certo—the first passage where the piano and orchestra play together Diffusion: Concerto Textures 91 Example 31 after the woodwinds and piano have separately played the first theme will bring up, not for the first time, Schumann's reputed weakness in orchestration (see Example 13, bars 24-25). The piano arpeggios do indeed sound merely accompanimental, merely dull; in the instrument's middle range they lack the character they need to be perceived as a distinctive texture. Yet this muddy sound forms a matrix from which ; new, somewhat vigorous motivic idea can emerge, develop, and finally shake free. The whole passage is perfectly well conceived in terms of texture as well as in drafismanship Liszt's Piano Concerto No. 2 begins with a chromatic melody in the woodwind choir, the clarinet already languorous in the low middk register. After several fast movements the melody comes back and comes into its own, as concerto regresses to chamber music—a fragrant solo cello with piano arpeggios. The latter can only be counted 4 accompaniment in an ironic sense, I think; Liszt is playing a special role here, the role of rehearsal accompanist. Its only after we have heard him dash off a little inspirational cadenza that we are invited to admire the virtuoso as HACK. And how reluctant he is to allow the cello a second phrase On the other hand, a celebrated moment a little later is something else again. Example 33 shows Liszt creating a fused te xture, comparable to the Stravinsky passages shown in Examples 9 and 30. The primary material, the chromatic kernel of the original melody, isolated and at- tenuated, appears high in two solo violins and the flutes; the lower strings play barely audible ; icatos, and the piano plays simple arpeg Biated chords, basically of the same kind as in the previous example. To call this a piano accompaniment would be to underestimate it danger ously, and certainly no one would call it counterpoint. It cannot be categorized, it cannot be analyzed out; it becomes an integral compo- nent of the sensuous, indeed erotic, total sonor ity Next time around the solo cello returns to join the mix and swoon on Concerto Conversations 92 Example Example u, the listener—swoon twi . If this music brings to mind behalf of y' Tristan und Isolde, know that it predates Tristan by many years, both as to time of composition and first performance. Choice concerto textures occur at a certain predictable juncture within slow movements of a familiar type, lyric movements in a simple, some- times very simple A B A form. Mozart called such movements “Ro- manze.” Beethoven was perhaps the first composer to capitalize on the eturn of A (the second A after B) to create a special texture in which the listener can luxuriate at leisure: this occurs in the Adagio un poco ge in his Mosso of the “Emperor” Concerto. Berlioz cited the pass treatise on orchestration. Every musician, he said, must admire the wonderful effect . . . produced by the piano’ lingering beat, with both hands in the upper register, while the flute, clarinet and bassoon play the melody over eighth-notes played by the strings in an off-rhythm, In such a Combination, the sonority of the piano could not be more enchanting, full of the calm of innocence—the very image of grace MS not the fratcheur or the grace that I admire, its the diffusion of the Piano sound into an inclusive sonority. The melody, the piano figura- tion, and the string chords en contrete mps: all become inseparable con- Stituents of a single concerto texture Continuing in this tradition, probably consciously, are piano concer. tos by Mendelssohn and Chopin; while their piano figurations are more refined than Beethoven’, their melodies are orchestrated with less indi- viduality. Not so in the Ravel Concerto in G, a showcase for virtuoso sound-effects of all kinds—solo orchestral, and combined. The piano melody in the slow movement (A) returns as a sultry English horn solo, while piano scales and slow trills sleepwalk their way through the upper register. A plain left-hand accompaniment in continuous eighth Diffusion: Concerto Textures. 93 ee Example 34 Plate 5. Leonard Bernstein in Israel, 1948 Concerto Conversations 94 notes that has in fact been going non-stop from the beginning of the movement contributes a frame of nostalgia for this exquisite sound. pix. A distant descendant of the “Emperor,” this music has put any thoughts of innocence or grace far behind it Concertos for strings with movements of this type include Cello oncerto No. 2 by Saint-Saéns, the Sibelius Violin Concerto, Violin ‘Concerto No. 1 by Prokofiev, and the Viola Concerto of William Wal- ‘ton. The Prokofiev is as impressive as the Ravel in the matter of tex- ites, and twice as prodigal, inasmuch as Prokofiev builds his form round two different returns of an opening melody: In the first return of is melody (at the end of the first movemend), figuration by the muted Violin almost loses itself in a new shimmer of string tremolos, flute, and Tharp [7:45]. In the second return (at the end of the last movement), the melody in the orchestral high strings is doubled an octave higher by Molcissimo trills in the violin, Figuration is now deployed in the wood. Were the orchestral violins supporting the solo here, or was the solo “bodying out the violins? What is the last sound that was heard—orches- | 172 or solo? Like Tristan and Isolde puzzling out the meaning of “mine” "and “yours,” the entranced listener is past such questions. The agents “have become diffused into a single radiant essence Duality has been ost in a drawn-out moment of glittering delicacy. "Earlier | floated the idea that diffusion can be thought of as one of the modes of concerto duality, along with polarity, the mode characteristic of the early eighteenth century, and reciprocity, characteristic of the Classical and Romantic eras. Can one say that diffusion becomes the characteristic mode, or principle, of the twentieth-century concerto? Reciprocity, it is ttue—the art of conversation and relationship—seems Diffusion: Concerto Textures. 95 Track 9 Track 10 to have interested fewer and fewer com; posers over time; but it is doubt- / ful that any single principle could be formulated as reciprocity’ succes- | sor. Concertos have been altogether too diverse. More than with | other genre, probably, composers have felt free to play fast and loose , with the implications, expectations, and v any alues conveyed by the term concerto. A strange beast, Anthony Pople calls the twentieth-century concerto, whose generic assumptions, he says, as fulfilled.” Still, many have noted th: are as much toyed with at diffusion was certainly one route traveled by the twentieth-century concerto—traveled to the vanishing point. For with complete diffusion, obviously, duality vanishes, and that is what ) happened in the twentieth-cemtury concerto for orchestra. Made fa- | mous by Béla Bartok, this genre also includes less well-known exem. i HI plars by Hindemith, Kodaly, Lutostawski, and quite a few Americans— Walter Piston, Roger Sessions, Elliott Carter, and Gunther Schuller, among others. To be sure, composers define the concerto for orchestra very liberally. Sometimes they seem to mean by multimovement work for orchestra that the standards of the symphony, it no more than a prefers not to be appraised by whatever they may be, while still asking to be taken more seriously than a suite or a sinfonietta. Of those I have been able to he. at, the one that feels most like a concerto for a good number of the orchestra members, without any of them standing out as Principal, is the Concerto for Orchestra by Zoltan Kodaly, 1940. Bartok knew the Kodaly when he composed his o1 for Orchestra only a few war years later. composed in wn Concerto The later concertos of Stravinsky are also in effect concertos for or- chestra, among them the “Dumbarton Oaks” Concerto of 1938 for small orchestra and Ebony Concerto of 1945 for Wo. ody Herman’ swing band. Stravinsky reminds us that that is what a big-band jazz number is—a four-minute concerto for orchestra, jazz orchestra. His concerto i | output marks progressive stages of his Neoclassical project: from the Concerto Conversations 96 Concerto for Piano and Winds, with its neo-Baroque polarity, to the Molin Concerto, which comes as close to a diffused concerto as we are likely to hear under that title, to “Dumbarton Oaks Stravinsky evoked the Bach Two-Violin Concerto in connection with his own Violin C on- ferto, and the Brandenburg Concertos serve ostentatiously as models for “Dumbarton Oaks This winds back the clock, and brings us to the final topic of this Tecture. Although we began with modern technology, with the extra ordinary development of musical instruments in the first half of the mineteenth century, it must not be thought that imaginative concerto fextures waited for these developments. The birds in Spring, and the Chattering of teeth in Winter: these are perhaps the most striking of the special textures in “The Four Seasons,” a work that stands out as much for the variety of its textures as for its mimetic profusion. Nor, of Course, is this an isolated case in Vivaldi’s immense oeuvre. His first published concertos, the widely influential Estro armonico of around 1711, include several for four violins, a solo group chosen specially to provide unusual textures, One of these concertos for four violins goes further in this regard than the others; and sure enough, that is the one that was transcribed for four harpsichords by J. S. Bach. Presumably Bach was interested to See what new textures could be obtained by transforming Vivaldi’s. One does not need to hear many Bach cantatas to appreciate his interest in Novel textures. His interest in concerto textures in particular is shown Most graphically by the set of six concerti grossi he brought together to Present to the Margrave of Brandenburg. As everyone know s, each has a different solo group and a different orchestra. Each creates its own sound world. The Brandenburg Concertos include some episodes of pure texture Diffusion: Concerto Textures 97 __— ee music, no doubt inspired by Vivaldi. In the tuneless wash of sonority that surfaces in the middle of the first movement of Brandenburg Con- certo No. 5, the three solo instruments, flute, violin, and harpsichord, later a secondary solo cello materializes to enrich a new diffuse away diffused texture. Its well known that Bach was writing his and the worlds first harpsichord concerto with this work, a feat that seems to have involved him in a systematic exploration of the possibilities of the instrument for its new role. He tries it out in many ways: as a member of a quartet with violin, flute, and continuo (in the first movement); as a melody instrument set concerto-fashion against a very lightly scored ritornello (in the second); as a voice in a fugue (in the third); and as a virtuoso instrument playing high-speed runs overlaid on trio action as preface to a spectacular written-out cadenza. In the episode illustrated in Example 35 he tries out the harpsichord in an even more interesting role, as an ingredient for a composite concerto texture. Each Brandenburg has its own sound world, and only one of them would have been familiar to the Margrave and his Kapell. Brandenburg, Concerto No. 3 is scored for a plain string band, without any of the gambas, flutes, trumpets, concertante harpsichords, and the like shown off by its companions. Yet the first movement of Brandenburg No. 3 may be the most subtle of them all in terms of texture. In a concerto grosso, after the full orchestra plays the ritornello, individual instru ments split off as various different solos or solo combinations. This process is simply another kind of diffusion, diffusion of orchestral cor- poreality—the inverse, as it were, of diffusion of solo singularity. In Brandenburg No. 3 the process is carried out with the greatest of imagi- nation, as though Bach took the very plainness of his chosen resources as a challenge. If Brandenburg No. 5 can be viewed as a dissertation on keyboard sonorities, No. 3 is a veritable anthology of string sonorities some well known and others invented by Bach for the occasion. Concerto Conversations 98 Example 35 Jo mention just a few of these textures: even the seemingly innocent fitornello that starts the piece manipulates texture in a way that no other Bach concerto ritornello seems to do. Opening in three-part har- mony, this soon coalesces into two parts and finally into octaves, thus attaining a climax of resonance [0:14]. After the ritornello’s cadence in pare octaves, the orchestra crumbles into close-harmony bunches of three solo violins, three violas, and three cellos, moving down the oc- taves. This becomes a textural matrix for many other episodes that fol- Jow. Thus a powerful episode toward the end of the movement—power- ful harmonically and because of a new rhythm—substitutes spread yiolin-viola and violin-cello pairs, moving down the octaves, for the three-instrument bunches [3:27, 4:14] The second time the entire ritornello is heard, only 30 bars after the first time, the music is up an octave and seems to be reorchestrated as a solo for a rapidly shifting number of instruments. A shifting solo, or is it really half-orchestral? Fluidity replaces duality; the orchestra/solo dis- tinction no longer holds. The effect is kaleidoscopic, and for those who accurately remember the original ritornello, almost vertiginous. Where before there were octaves there is now harmony, and where before there was harmony there are now bare octaves, or a three-violin bunch with a yiola bunch in the background [1:22 The one moment in this piece that has evinced the most comment (unless that be a missing moment, the missing slow movement) is the beginning of the third large section of the first movement, the point where the original ritornello theme may be expected to return in the tonic key. It does, with this difference: the ritornello theme is played not orchestrally but by a solo violin, combining, quite exceptionally, with a new solo theme in another violin [2:46].° The new, more deliberate theme receives a (real) fugal answer; a triple fugue could be beginning, making use of a new bass in triple counterpoint. Ironically, what is most Diffusion: Concerto Textures. 99 Track 11 innovative about this place thematically is most traditional texturally, for Bach now deploys the standard Baroque trio with two violins over a continuo, winding around themselves and merging into thirds and sixths. And then this homely texture opens up into a great sunburst of sound [3:07]. If the octaves at the end of the original ritornello mark the point of maximum resonance, this massive, pulsating sound stands at the other pole, as the point of maximum sonorous intricacy. To clinch the effect of this ten-voiced texture—an effect of truly Baroque extrava gance; Vivaldi would have recognized it with an envious shiver—Bach summons up the concertos most visionary harmonies There are many more one-of-a-kind textures in this movement. Surely the listener does not identify, or learn to identify, each as a discrete entity—a tough assignment even if crystal-clear performances of this music could be taken for granted (and they cannot be so taken) The more he or she responds to the continual flux of texture, however, to the textural iridescence that comes about as the polymorphous or- chestra fragments and coalesces, the better As it happens, three books on Bach’s concertos have appeared in recent years, by English and American scholars alone, and I naturally looked to see what they have to say about Brandenburg Concerto No. 3.’ They say little, and less that is new, but after all this does not surprise, for as is typical in musicological studies, the authors are con- cerned with many things but not with texture. Michael Marissen is in terested in the Brandenburg Concertos’ religious symbolism. Malcolm Boyd is interesting on the prehistory of Brandenburg No. 1. Laurence Dreyfus has illuminating things to say about form and discourse, what he calls “invention,” in about a dozen Bach concerto movements or concerto-like movements. Brandenburg No. 3 is not among them. For while there is much to admire in it from this standpoint—the new Concerto Conversations 100 theme in the third section, to look no further—the chief joy of this music is sensuous, not discursive. Of course Bach’ sensuousness is not Liszt's or Ravel’; it is more intellectual and less come-hither. Neverthe- Jess, listening to Brandenburg No. 3, I do not trace the form and still Jess do I track the textures; I lose myself in their multiplicity and inexpectedness and efflorescence Diffusion: Concerto Textures. 101 Example 28 Allegro moderato ee Hah con abbandono | ————— =— Du Did edd Gd piety $2 con abbandono Ge a EEE ip ie pete doleissimo polis a Example 29 Adagio non troppo é mm? - Peebles 5 __sletiene fee 2 E o Ff oo _f 4 STR, MUTES poco accel. aay a oF r——| es # ce re Music Examples 152 _ == ae pepe ala jae cr dim. molto PPP. Example 30 Tempo = 48 so1o eee eee P jlastande sina al fine ans FF es Example 31 | v dolce ww Allegro molto appassionato Allegro ma non troppo & solo tr tr o 1 TTT) === =a Se P tranquillo e Music Examples 153 Example 32 Allegro moderato rallentando SOLO CELE Example 33 Music Examples In tempo Te Pedal mit jeciem Take} espressivo brew) 154 Cadenza del Pianofo a Example 34 Adagio un poco mosso 5) Example 35 Allegro * fe SS bs, ae pipette to pe = = = SSS POPS eh pis oP Hee eas ftp == ae =. lhe Example 36 a Allegro love. rr i bq — Music Examples ' he Geainte 155 5. The classic case of this kind of mimesis, which can be traced all the way back to Vivaldi, is in Ludwig Spohr’s Violin Concerto No. 8 in A minor, called the Gesangszene. A more familiar case is Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, featur- ing a solo violin as RHAPSODE. . Chick Corea, with Bobby McFerrin and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, The Mozart Sessions (Sony SK 62601, rec. 1996); see especially K. 466. Between 1996 and 1999 Robert Levin recorded the five Beethoven piano concertos and some other works with John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestre Révolution- naire et Romantique (Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft). Since 1995 he has been engaged in a complete recording of the Mozart piano concertos with Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music (Oiseau Lyre) . See Mozart: Neue Ausgabe samtliche Werke, series V, vol. 7, Kritischer Bericht, ed, Hermann Beck (Cassel: Barenreiter, 1964), pp. g6-7, g10-14. Ployer was identified as the writer after this publication came out. Donald Francis Tovey, Essays in Musical Analysis, III: Concertos (London: Ox- ford University Press, 1937), p. 86. On Tovey’s cadenzas, see idem., “Prefaces to Cadenzas to Classical Concertos,” in The Main Stream of Music and Other Essays (New York: Oxford University Press, 1949), pp. 315-324. See Otto Erich Deutsch, Mozart: Die Documente seines Lebens (Cassel: Baren- reiter, 1961), p. 472. 10. For example, the first theme is presented in thick forte chords for the piano which make sense only as original triple stops on the violin. The cadenza was transcribed back for violin by Wolfgang Schneiderhan. It is played by Rug- giero Ricci on Biddulph CD LAW 017, rec. 1994. 11. Donald Francis Tovey, The Classics of Music, ed. Michael Tilmouth (Oxford: Oxford University Press, forthcoming; cited in Tilmouth’s introduction). Tovey’ articles for the 11th and 14th editions of the Britannica, 1911 and 1929, are collected in idem., Musical Articles from the Encyclopaedia Britan- nica (London: Oxford University Press, 1944). 2 = % 2 5. Diffusion: Concerto Textures . Debussy: Letters, ed. Francois Lesure and Roger Nichols (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1987), p. 211. . See Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft, Dialogues and a Diary (New York: Doubleday, 1963), p. 80. N Notes to Pages 69-88 134 a ws w st Ww aaa Stanley Cavell, Must We Mean What We Say? (New York: Scribner, 1969), p. 186, Hector Berlioz, Traité dinstrumentation et dorchestration (Paris: Lemoine, 1925), pp. 91-95. Anthony Pople, Berg: Violin Concerto (Cambridge Music Handbooks; Cam- bridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), pp. 7, 3. There are no “new” themes, of course: this one has been traced to the viola part in bar 1 Malcolm Boyd, Bach: The Brandenburg Concertos (Cambridge Music Hand- books; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Laurence Dreyfus, Bach and the Patterns of Invention (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1996); Michael Marissen, The Social and Religious Design of J. S. Bach’ Brandenburg Concertos (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995). 6. The Sense of an Ending Frank Kermode, The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction (Ox- ford: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 47. This work is discussed further in my essay “Mozart’s Piano Concertos and Their Audience,” in Write All These Down. Rosen, The Classical Style, pp. 233-235. Leo Schrade, Music in the Art of Tragedy (Charles Eliot Norton Lectures, 1962-63; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1964), p. 70. Tovey, Essays in Musical Analysis, vol. 3, p. 125. David Schiff, The Music of Elliott Carter (London: Eulenberg, 1983), p. 228. Robert Levin pointed out to me five Mozart concertos with quiet endings. “The first performance of Prokofiev's Concerto in the Soviet Union . .. was given . .. by two extraordinary nineteen-year-olds, Nathan Milstein and Vladimir Horowitz, the latter playing the orchestra part on the piano. (‘I feel that if you have a great pianist like Horowitz playing with you, you don't need an orchestra!’|!] wrote Milstein in his memoirs, From Russia to the West.) Milstein and Horowitz introduced Karol Szymanowski’s Concerto No. 1 in the Soviet Union on the same occasion.” Michael Steinberg, The Con- certo: A Listeners Guide (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), p. 350 As reported by Mosco Camer (who was there): see Alban Berg: The Man and the Music (London: Duckworth, 1975), p. iv Notes to Pages 90-116 135 a